I’ll be honest with you. As the talks of a possible strike emerged and then became a reality, I was a little miffed. Why? Because it was affecting me and not very positively. One of my favorite past times has come to a screeching halt. The fates of my favorite characters have been left in limbo and my weeknights will soon be filled with reruns.
I don’t want this strike because I don’t want to lose my favorite TV shows (Want to know how your favorite show will be affected, check out this chart). Selfish, I know. But what can I say — I’m human.
In truth, I really haven’t ever given the writers much thought. Not that they aren’t highly creative people incredibly skilled with the written word. I just take them for granted. When I think of TV shows, I think of the actors and actresses starring in them. Occasionally, I might think of the executive producers when big changes happen to the show. But I really only think of the writers when I find a continuity issue, holes in the plot or some other inhibitor to my viewing pleasure. It’s not fair. I know and I’m not particularly proud of it, but it’s true.
So it should be no surprise that, except for how it was affecting my life, I hadn’t really given the Writers Guild of America strike much thought. Until recently.
I just read a blog entry by one of my favorite writers (okay, I think about them occasionally but not enough to be respectable) — Joss Whedon. He was writing a response to some comments by New York Times reporters on the strike. He was not only justifying writing as a real job, but commenting on how it’s not as easy as it looks.
“It’s necessary, though. We’re talking about story-telling, the most basic human need. Food? That’s an animal need. Shelter? That’s a luxury item that leads to social grouping, which leads directly to fancy scarves. But human awareness is all about story-telling. The selective narrative of your memory. The story of why the Sky Bully throws lightning at you. From the first, stories, even unspoken, separated us from the other, cooler beasts. And now we’re talking about the stories that define our nation’s popular culture – a huge part of its identity. These are the people that think those up. Working writers. ”
His comments gave me pause — and the thought of endless hours of reality TV. As a writer myself (although just an amateur), I felt ashamed that I’d taken these writers so for granted. Their jobs probably come with some cool perks, but I can’t imagine that it is easy. And like any other job, I sure it has its highs and lows.
Over the last few days, we’ve heard lots of talk from Hollywood and New York. We know which actors are crossing the picket lines and which aren’t. But I’m actually more interested in what the average Joe thinks. What are your feelings about the WGA strike? Do you support the writers? If you were in their shoes, what would you do and why?